clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Woj: Ime Udoka among leading candidates for Celtics head coach opening

Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets - Game Five Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The Nets have eight assistant coaches and there are seven head coaching openings. No, eight doesn’t go into seven but increasingly Steve Nash’s assistants are getting interviewed for some of those openings. Earlier this week, Mike D’Antoni, a two-time NBA coach of the year, spoke with the Trailblazers brain trust via Zoom. Now, Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Ime Udoka, the Nets defensive specialist, has also been interviewed, by the Celtics, and will soon get a second.

The Boston Celtics’ coaching search remains focused in the ranks of assistants, with a wave of second interviews expected to come with Brooklyn’s Ime Udoka, Milwaukee’s Darvin Ham and the LA Clippers’ Chauncey Billups, sources told ESPN.

D’Antoni, Udoka and lead assistant Jacque Vaughn have all been tied to several of the NBA’s coaching openings.

Woj reports that Udoka, a former NBA player who’s been an assistant in San Antonio, Philadelphia and Brooklyn, got rave reviews for another job, that with Team USA.

Udoka has received strong reviews from Celtics players who played for the U.S. national team in the 2019 World Cup tournament, sources said. Udoka was an assistant under national coach Gregg Popovich. Udoka joined Steve Nash’s staff this year after one season with the Sixers and seven years under Popovich with the Spurs.

The news that Udoka could be on the bench next season came just as Brad Stevens, the Celtics new president of basketball operations, traded Kemba Walker and the 16th overall pick in next month’s draft and a 2025 second to the Thunder for Al Horford, Moses Brown and a 2023 second. The trade reduces the Celtics’ luxury tax bill ... and opens the possibility of a buyout of Horford that could drop the bill even further.

The trade gives the Thunder five picks in the upcoming draft: the 4th (depending on next week’s lottery) the 16th, 18th, 36th and 55th.